The idea of traveling through Tuscany conjures images like rolling hillsides, field after field of growing vines, and of the mystical idea of the Tuscan Sun. These conjured images are correct…you do see field after field of vines, sunflowers, and towns built high up on the hills. But there is so much more to this Italian region.
Like 13th century castles like Montereggioni.
Monteriggioni dates back formally to 1213, or even earlier as it is situated on the Via Francigena that winds between Rome and the Alps connecting a network of routes that ran from Northern Italy to what is now Tuscany. Merchants used the road as did pilgrims on their way to Rome.
Or unique cities like Colle di Val d’Elsa.
The city of Colle di Val D’Elsa also lies along Via Francigena and was at its’ height during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. It is known as the city of crystal and now is home to an elevator that helps citizens and visitors travel from the upper level of the city to the lower level without walking the entire length of the outer walls.
One of my favorite stops in Colle di Val d’Elsa was a small crystal shop on the upper level of the town, La Grotta del Cristallo. There was a mix of traditional crystal to edgy and modern designs….and the jewelry….well, I could not help myself. (after all, buying jewelry sure beats getting sad while trying on clothes).
Of course, there are the must see Tuscan destinations like Siena, San Gimignano, and Florence…but you will have to come back to hear about those adventures.